Help me reverse engineer this UFO
August 7, 2011 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Can you help me setup my airport wireless network without an actual H.G. Wells time machine?

So my roommate moved out and took his airport extreme base station with him. I used to have an airport station of my own, but gifted it to a friend over a year ago. A friend at work brought me a new-in-box original UFO style Airport base station from 2001. It's the model that still has the built in 56k modem. It is 802.11b compliant. So I had a fun unboxing time with the original packaging, plugged it in to my dsl, and it works just fine. I can see the 'Apple Network xxx blah' connect to it and get online just fine.

The trouble is that even through Airport Admin Utility, I can't actually get in to the base station to update the firmware, set a network name, security etc. Scanning for the base station doesn't come up on my MBP using the utility. My MBP is running 10.6.6, and I have an old macbook running 10.4.11. The older macbook can see it in airport admin utility but it pops up an error saying that it doesn't support that base station. I would like to be able to access it, update it's firmware, and set it up securely.

I tried using the install CD for the airport setup, but it requires OS 10.1 so that's a no-go. I've been searching for the original software/system CD for my old macbook, but I can't find it, otherwise I would just back up that machine, and start from scratch simply to set-up this base station. I don't want an unsecured network. Any ideas on what I can do here? (extra detail, I've tried connecting with my macbook wireless and via ethernet cable directly to the base station, hasn't made a difference). Sub-question: anyone in Pasadena, CA running OS 10.1 who wants free beer and eternal thanks from me for coming over to help? :)
posted by Bohemia Mountain to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Does this not work?
posted by fearnothing at 11:50 AM on August 7, 2011

fearnothing, that's the one I have installed on my macbook w/10.4.11 and it says it doesn't support the base station. that's sort of why I am at a loss. I figured that since it was new in box, and hadn't been setup before it would work, but no go on that front :(
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 12:02 PM on August 7, 2011

How about if you plug in wired via the Airport admin utility? You might need to nuke it from orbit (do a full reset..)
posted by filmgeek at 12:14 PM on August 7, 2011

filmgeek, I would be super happy to do that, but I haven't been able to actually get it to work. Base station is currently hooked up directly to my macbook running 10.4.11, and admin utility won't let me access it even though it shows up in the scan. error says it doesn't support that base station, which is weird because it's 'brand new'. if i could nuke it, then update I gladly would, that exactly what I want to do!
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 12:35 PM on August 7, 2011

Do you have a current AppleCare plan on either mac? If so it's worth giving them a try. I know that base station is a bit old for official support but in my experience (I used to work there), if you're reasonable and persuasive, you have a better-than-even chance of getting some semi-official help. Best time to call is midweek, before commuting owners get home.

As for unofficial help, as far as I can see, using the admin utility is the only way in, unless my google-fu has failed me. Focus on finding someone with an older OS than 10.4, but I don't think you need to go back as far as 10.1 - I'd be pretty confident that you could get it working with anything up to 10.3.9's airport setup assistant.
posted by fearnothing at 12:56 PM on August 7, 2011

plokent, great answer! I was able to use your "The older application ‘AirPort Utility for Graphite and Snow’ is not compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard”
" link. Using my macbook running 10.4.11, I ran the graphite and snow airport utility in Rosetta mode. Allowed me to get into the base station, update the firmware and set up a private password protected network. I'm still bummed I can't administer the network through airport admin in 10.6, but at least I have my older system I can use. I was able to update the base station to 4.0.9, which is as far as she goes apparently. I used this chart via apple to figure out how far forward I could update. The best part about this was the support and help from the AskMe folks, a free nearly 11 year old NIB base station, and being able to control my wireless access all for free!!! thanks everybody, and especially plokent!!! Beers on me if you ever make it out to the golden state, cheers!
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 6:37 PM on August 7, 2011

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